Monday, June 27, 2016


Man oh man. This week has just absolutely FLOWN. I cannot even recount what was happening half of the time... just give me moment to reflect on what has been happening since I last spoke to you all...

Well, first of all, people were not kidding when they called this place "Fat-ford" instead of Thetford. No joke, we get fed almost every single day. And this ain't no English roast, I'm talking AMERICAN FOOD. This week we have had a vegan meal, the best chicken I think I've ever tasted, breakfast for dinner (waffles, hashbrowns, sausage, bacon, MAPLE SYRUP since that's a novelty here, and eggs.), pizza, Cafe Rio-style burritos, curry, and ravioli. Yes. That is a meal every single day. Mama Mia. This place is the danger zone for my health hahaha. But don't you worry, Sister Wilson and I WORK IT in our exercise (because 30 minutes totally makes up for all that food, right?). Seriously, I feel like if I recount this week it mainly revolves around food... Here's the difference between American and English food: FLAVOR. Now that I'm with all these Americans, I realise how bland everything is in England haha.

We did have quite the experience though, and it revolves around the night we had curry... Sister Wilson and I were going to tract a neighbourhood that some members in the ward live in. They said that they had a lot of awesome neighbours, so we thought we would give it a shot. When we arrived we decided to quickly stop by and ask which of their neighbours they thought would be good for us to talk to. These members are AMAZING, so they were just like "well, let us take you over there and introduce you to them!" We make our way outside and it was beautiful and warm and sunny and we were all having a nice chat in the neighbour's front yard. Sister Wilson was wearing a bright yellow top and a ton of these bugs were all over her because of it. She's not a big fan of the little critters, so she was like "I'm gonna go get my jacket so these bugs stay off of me!" She runs to the car and we watch her open the door, grab her jacket, throw her bag in, then close the door. She puts her jacket on, then goes to open the door again andddddddd it was locked. Anddddddd the keys were also locked inside. Andddddd the phone was also locked inside. Anddddddd we were far from home.

The sweet member and their neighbour that we were talking to were like "IT'S OKAY! We can just google how to get into the car. It'll be fine" and so they retrieve this long wire and a door hedge and a screwdriver and went to work. They were prying and pulling and shoving this wire through the door, and surprisingly they got it through (after about 45 minutes....). Then they just had to work on getting it to the button in the middle of the console.... yeah, that wasn't quite so easy. After about an hour of trying, they threw in the towel and we looked for a person who could come unlock it for us... for only £170!!!! So we were like "hold up, NO WAY." Then the wife of the neighbour we were talking to came out and asked if we had any sort of coverage for the car. OH YEAH! (I know, we are so bright:)), but the problem was we had no phone, so we had no way to call the Elder in the office who helps with this kind of stuff. Soooooo we resorted to calling the only number I knew by heart.... which was Stevenage, of course! We called and Sister Searle was just cracking up at the whole scenario. She gave us the numbers we needed, and finally we were able to get it all sorted and got a guy that would come and do it {at no cost to us}.

Since we had crashed this family in our ward's whole Saturday, we decided that we would go tracting around their neighbourhood while we were waiting for the key guy to show up. By this point it had started to sprinkle. The members gave us a huge umbrella and we set off. Then the worst rainstorm I've seen since I've been on my mission (and this is England, land of the rain, I'm talkin' about right here) started. I'm talking major lightening and thunder and just buckets pouring down. As people answered their doors, we were yelling "HELLO! WE ARE THE MISSIONAR..."

"No thank you!" *door slam*

They couldn't even hear us over the thunder and rain. After a few of those we were like "okay, maybe the key guy is here" so we start to head back. Then the members zoom up in their huge American Ford Excursion, told us to hop in, and took our little soaking selves back to their home and made us hot chocolate. And then made us dinner. Isn't that the sweetest thing in the world?! The day literally turned from sunny and bright to flash flooding. So bizarre. The key guy finally came and unlocked our car. In all, this was about a 5 hour ordeal. BUT there were a few positives to this experience: 1) we got to really get to the know the neighbours of the members, and we hope we will be able to see them again and teach them, 2) our car got nice and clean in the downpour... okay, I'm struggling to think of more positives, but it was a random funny incident. We are going to make some cookies and brownies to thank the members and their friends for helping us!

The rain got to me. And my glasses.

I'm now just realising that this story is mega long, so if you made it all the way through, congrats! The rest of the week was really great. We met some new amazing people that we will be teaching. One cool experience that I'll try to briefly share (but I can't promise ya it will be that brief) was when we were talking to people in the street. We were walking around Brandon, and right off the bat we spoke to this woman who just talked and talked and talked. Literally we couldn't get a word in. We were trying to politely exit the conversation but it was impossible! Once we were finally able to move on, I was a bit annoyed that she had taken so much of our finding time. We had to make our way to Tesco to buy some tp (gotta have that essential, am I right??) and on our way back we stopped and talked to this guy. Even though it was raining, we had a super good conversation with him, and he said he just wanted to find peace in his life, and we were like "HEY! We can help you with that!" So we set up another appointment with him. He told us that he didn't know why he decided to walk to Tesco that day instead of drive. He said he NEVER walks there. To make things even wilder, it was raining! So he had no idea what inspired him to walk. That's pretty cool, right?! We taught him about the plan of salvation and he really loved it. He wasn't able to come to church due to work, but he is so so excited to learn more. It was a cool little miracle :)

I hope you all have an amazing week! Sorry for talking (or I guess I should say "writing") your ear off!

Sister Syddall

 The districttttt. I look like a giant hahaha SO TALL. Luckily Sister Wilson is pretty tall too!

 Yeah, you read that right. SIX POUNDS. That's like NINE DOLLARS. Count your blessings,  folks in the USA.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Howdy Pardner

HOWDY YA'LL! I'm just getting into my new character over here in Thetford because DANG am I surrounded by lots of Americans from the South. I feel like I'm in this weird middle ground between the states and England. I didn't even realise how adjusted I was to the English culture, and now it's hitting me that I've grown accustomed to the English life! I can't even explain how weird this feeling is... but it's been such a crazy crazy week, I'm gonna jump right into that!

So obviously transfers are always a rough day. Saying bye to Stevenage and all the wonderful people I met there was so hard. And I think my luggage has put on like 10 pounds in each suitcase, so that was a struggle through London during rush hour. Then I met my new comp Sister Wilson, and said goodbye to Sister Searle. It was so sad leaving her behind! But I know she'll keep on rockin it in Stevenage. Oh, and when we arrived to my area (we actually live in a place called Brandon) we went out to get some groceries. As we were walking back my companion was like "do you have the keys" and I was like "uhhhhh, no... wait. Do we have the phone?!" "Uhhhhhh.... no." Then we just started cracking up at our misfortune! We then trekked over to the library and called someone on Facebook (who even knew you could do that?!) and we were SAVED. This was the first person I met from one of the wards and she has some TEXAS PRIDE. Her accent cracks me up every time. I love it!

Sister Wilson {my new companion} is so great! She's from California and has been out in the field for 6 weeks, so she was in the same group as Sister Searle. She's my chauffeur in our SICK car which looks like a mini minivan. You know all the people that see us cruzing, rocking out to EFY songs, are soooooo jealous ;) But I have to say, it's a step up from the bikes haha! I may not ever be driving while I'm here, though (it's complicated - tests and such - and expensive to get a UK driver's license, which is REQUIRED after you have been here for a year, and I am at my 1-year mark in about a week), but I'm okay with that because it would just stress me out. Not to mention the amount of people here that have their huge American cars who just whiz around with no care in the world. But it's all good.

The first few days here were just CRAZY. Sister Wilson told me about Don, who was going to be baptised in two weeks. Then he calls the day I got here and is like, "wait! I'll be out of town in two weeks so I want to be baptised THIS SATURDAY." And we were just like "sayyyyy wahaaa?!" So we went to District Meeting Thursday, and spur of the moment, our District Leader {+ his comp} came back with us to Thetford (a two hour train journey) to interview Don. After we dropped them off for the interview, we went and taught an investigator, then zoomed back to pick them up so they could make the hourly train... then we proceeded to get lost for 45 minutes driving around a legit forest. Elder Packer and I were both literally dying with the most insane allergies I've ever had in my life. So... they missed their train. We decided to give them some delicious spaghetti (leftovers from the member we ate with the evening before), and we got them back on the train to Kings Lynn. It was such an adventurous day.

So we arrived to Friday, and we literally had to throw together the entire baptism this day. We needed talks and people to say prayers and clothes for Don and Priesthood holders and EVERYTHING. The Mildenhall Ward just got a brand new ward mission leader, but he saved our life! He was sooooo willing to help us organise and plan and call people. The ward members here are just absolutely amazing. We couldn't have gotten everything together in time without them!

Saturday was the big day, and Don was baptised! It was so wonderful and there was a good turnout for support and it was really just so so great. I had just barely met Don the day before, but he's like a giant teddy bear and the sweetest person and was SO ready to be baptised. Again, I just have to reiterate, both of the wards here are AMAZING.

Saturday night was hilarious because Sister Wilson and I proceeded to have a full on conversation in our sleep, and we both woke up talking about a lesson and were just like "what is happening?..." And then I looked at the clock and it was 2:30 in the morning and we just laughed and laughed. Then we fell asleep again in like .3 seconds because we were exhausted. It was so odd though hahaha.

Sunday was my first time attempting six hours of church. Lemme tell ya, that's a longggggg time. BUT I still loved it and loved getting to meet the members from each ward. I've got a lottttt of names to memorise here. We will see how it goes!

I hope you all have a wonderful week! Love you all!
Sister Syddall

Post post:
Found this picture on the UK and Ireland missionary momma's facebook page. Can you spot Shilo? I can ;-) She's next to Sister Searle, about four rows back, left from center.

and another I spy:
Photos taken June 7, 2016

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

From pedalling to hitting the pedal

Hello everybody! Wow, this week has just been loaded with all sorts of jazziness, so let's get right on with that!

I'm officially no longer a teenager. And wow, lemme tell ya, it feels pretty riveting! (Nah, I'm just kidding, nothing actually feels different.) We got a beautiful forecast of rain. And more rain. And more for the rest of this week!
The day of my birthday. Right after this it POURED, so I was not looking nice for too long haha!

On the actual day of my birth, we had a nice breakfast at McDonalds (classy, I know), got a milkshake to celebrate, and then we got a sad phone call where I was informed I'll be leaving Stevenage and Sister Searle :'(  I am moving on to Thetford, BUT get this... I'll have a car! AND I'll be on an Air Force Base, which means KRAFT MAC AND CHEESE AND TACO BELL. AND AN AMERICAN WARD!  Then it dawned on me... I WILL BE THERE FOR THE 4TH OF JULY! So there are a few positives, I guess. We had dinner with Bishop and his fam, and they even got me a cake and a birthday button and everything. It was so so sooooooooo sad saying goodbye to them, but altogether it was a great day!

My birthday cake at Bishop's! And his two adorable sons.

Today we went to London to celebrate with some missionaries from the zone. In the past we have attempted to go to St. Paul's Cathedral for free because sometimes missionaries get in, but not too commonly. BUT TODAY WAS THE DAY! They let us in, and wowza, that was an ornate building. We even walked like 1,000 steps to go to the very top (my legs are literally still shaking haha). It was quite cool to see some history! Then we went to CHIPOTLE. Dang. I don't even remember it being that good, but it was DELICIOUS.

At St. Paul's Cathedral with the Sisters! Sisters Shamukiga, Smiddy, and Searle! A whole lotta S :)

Some cool views of London from the top of St. Paul's.

Sister Smiddy is going to Norwich, so we will be in the same zone!

The whole group from our London pday - Elder Gibbs, Elder Koehler, and the Sisters

Saturday evening we had a dinner appointment with Kathy. I've mentioned her in the past - she's the hilarious Chinese sister in the ward. I just wanted to share my favourite part of the night. To set the scene -- we were sharing our spiritual thought with her, and it went a little something like this:

Sister Searle in her American accent: "...and I'm just so grateful to know that there is a purpose in my life..."

Kathy (in her wonderful Chinese accent): "Purpose? What does this 'purpose' mean? I have never heard that word before. Please write it down for me so I can learn what it means."

Me (sitting there thinking there is no way she hasn't heard the word purpose, she's lived in England for like 50 years, so that would  make no sense) in my very poor attempt at imitating an English accent: "...PUH-pus...?"

Kathy: "OH! PUH-pus!"

Then we all busted up laughing for a good 5 minutes. Then we got back to the spiritual note, don't you worry. It was a great night! Kathy literally has a pure heart of gold, I don't think I've ever known someone so giving and kind.

We love Kathy! 

I was a bit sad on Sunday because Julieta was supposed to be getting baptised, but it has been pushed back a couple of weeks, sooooo I will not be here. BUT I am so glad that I have had the opportunity to teach her, and that I've been able to learn a little Spanish while I was at it haha. Julieta and her family have grown to be some of my all-time favourite people that I've met on the mission, and I'm just so glad I've had the opportunity to know them!

With Julieta! So sad I won't be here for her baptism :(

On Tuesday (the 7th), as I mentioned last week, we got to hear from Elder Dallin H. Oaks and it was sooooo wonderful! He gave so much wonderful counsel and advice, and I just loved the message that he shared. He focused on teaching repentance to all those we teach. He talked about the reality that this mission is a challenging one at finding people who will enter the waters of baptism. He talked about how the world is quickly moving away from a belief in God, and this is actually what brought him to England. He was going to talk at a conference about religious freedom, and why it's so essential. So the focus of his message was this: we need more people that believe in God. He spoke about how even though everyone we teach may not be baptised, if we can help them feel that they have a Heavenly Father who loves them, we are fulfilling our purpose. As we teach people how they can repent and how they can change, they still ultimately have their agency to choose if they will make covenants. Another point that was focused on was that no effort we make is too small. Ahhhhh, this day was just so amazing.

We also got to hear from President and Sister Gubler of the London South Mission, President and Sister Stevens, Elder Kearon of the Seventy and Sister Kearon, and Sister Oaks. All of their messages were so perfect, and just what I and many others needed. The Spirit was literally tangible. And I can't help but get the chills when I hear 400+ missionaries singing "Called to Serve." I just absolutely LOVED this day, and I could go on forever, but I'll stop myself there :)

The old Wembley District... plus a few! At the Elder Oaks conference.

I hope you all have an absolutely fantastic week! Love you! Sorry this email is literally in the most bizarre order and all over the place!

Sister Syddall

From Tina ~ I received this text message this morning:
"Here are your awesome missionaries. We ran into them at St. Paul's cathedral. Have a great day!"
Shilo told me the picture was taken by one of the AP's parents, who were in London to pick up their son at the conclusion of his mission. So fun to get texts like that!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Colder than Christmas

Yo yo yooooo everybody! I hope you've had a swell week full of happiness and sunshine ('cause we didn't get a whole lot of that vitamin D over here)! This week has just been jam packed with all sorts of good stuff, so I'm excited to share!

We had the opportunity to go to Watford for exchanges on Tuesday, and guess who I got to be with?! Sister Johannes! She and I were in the same ward at BYU so it was loads of fun getting to work with her that day and reminisce on the good ol' freshman memories! But we are both very very grateful we have that chapter of our lives over with hahaha! It was way fun to get to know her better and teach with her that day. But DANG did it pour that day. AND we got to ride the bikes. What a pleasurrrrre. I was literally drenched head to toe. The water was dripping from the tip of my nose as we rode. I could barely see because the water was pelting me in the eyes. It was quite the experience. I guess I needed this opportunity to teach me to complain less about riding the bikes in Stevenage hahahaha, I've been humbled.

Me and Sister Johannes after our journey through the rain

Post exchange

Wednesday we got to go to London for the 3-week new missionary meeting, and it was wayyyy different being on the trainer side rather than the trainee side. It brought back a whole lot of memories from MY 3-week meeting (which feels like it was just like last week). It was just so fun to be there and receive great training and counsel from President and Sister Stevens and the APs. They gave the same training that they gave when I was new, but I just wanted to highlight what I loved from President's training (I may have talked about this before so just bear with me if I have). He talked about the the Nazarites and the fact that they were told not to cut their hair or to eat grapes. President Stevens pointed out "it's not about the grapes." In other words, the grapes themselves would not hurt them physically, same with cutting their hair. But it was about OBEDIENCE to the promise they made with God. There is a great parallel we can see in missionary work. Some of the rules can sometimes be difficult to understand, but when we are OBEDIENT to what we've been asked to do, we will be blessed with the POWER we need to fulfill our calling. It was just a great meeting altogether!

Pre 3-week meeting for the new missionaries

3-week meeting with President and Sister Stevens

Thursday was officially colder than Christmas Day was in Stevenage. Just let that sink in for a moment... We were FREEZING. I pulled out the winter hat, it was so cold! I was wearing the tights, the boots, the scarf... I had it ALL. It was such a freezing day. And would you believe that yesterday and today have been in the 80's and sunny and beautiful?! Like what the heck, England?!

June the 2nd. We were not happy about it...


Saturday we had Zone Meeting and it was another wonderful and uplifting meeting. Afterwards we had another blitz with the zone in Stevenage. And a grand total of one of the people that the missionaries contacted replied to us... anddddd he said he was no longer interested haha! But that's okay, because all of the missionaries were planting some good seeds.

Very low quality Zone Meeting photo! Woohoo!

Tomorrow we get to hear from ELDER DALLIN H. OAKS!! It feels like Christmas Eve, I am just soooooo pumped to hear from an apostle of the Lord. I will let you know about the wisdom and knowledge that I learn next week! OH, and next week is transfers, so I will not be emailing until Tuesday! But I love you all! Have an amazing week!

Sister Syddall